Gro Harlem Brundtland has been a member of The Elders since its founding in 2007, bringing to the group her decades of experience as a global leader in public health and sustainable development. She has served as Deputy Chair since May 2013.
As part of The Elders’ peace-building agenda, Prime Minister Brundtland joined The Elders’ first delegation to Israel and the West Bank in August 2009 to support efforts to advance Middle East peace – paying particular attention to the impact of the conflict on ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. She has travelled to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus to encourage reconciliation between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. In April 2011 she joined an Elders delegation to the Korean Peninsula and China in an effort to improve relations between North and South Korea.
A staunch advocate of gender equality as a prerequisite for development, Prime Minister Brundtland travelled to Ethiopia in June 2011 to meet communities affected by child marriage and bring together experts and activists working to end this harmful practice. In February 2012 she travelled to India, where the Elders lent their support to youth activists tackling early marriage at the local level.
Dubbed the “godmother of sustainable development”, she was also part of Elders+Youngers, an intergenerational dialogue between four Elders and four young change-makers during the Rio+20 summit in June 2012.
In October 2012, Gro Harlem Brundtland was on the Elders delegation visiting the Middle East to draw attention to the imperilled two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and to lend their support to the Egyptian democratic transition. Gro Harlem Brundtland joined The Elders delegation to Israel and Palestine again in May 2015. During the trip, The Elders continued to support the need for a two-state solution, Palestinian reconciliation and the perilous situation in Gaza.
Gro Harlem Brundtland has been an active part of The Elders’ Myanmar initiative. She visited the country in September 2013, where she and other Elders met with leaders and civil society representatives involved in supporting the peace process with ethnic minority armed groups and addressed ongoing violence in Rakhine state. In March 2014 she returned with Martti Ahtisaari where they visited Mae La refugee camp and Mae Tao Clinic, on the Thailand-Myanmar border and saw the resilience of those living in exile. In December 2014, she led the Elders’ delegation to Myanmar where they met with representatives from the government, the military and civil society including ethnic women’s groups. The Elders called on the warring parties to end their fighting and discussed opportunities for building a new and inclusive federal state, including the 2015 election.
Prime Minister Brundtland joined The Elders delegation to Moscow in April 2015. Led by Kofi Annan, Gro Harlem Brundtland along with Martti Ahtisaari, Lakhdar Brahimi, Jimmy Carter and Ernesto Zedillo visited Russia to discuss key geopolitical issues. During the trip, The Elders met with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
In September 2015, Gro Harlem Brundtland travelled to New York with Hina Jilani, Graça Machel and Ernesto Zedillo to celebrate the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals. During the trip, Prime Minister Brundtland participated in two events as part of The Elders A UN Fit for purpose initiative and the Social Good Summit, hosted by the UN Foundation and Mashable.